I’ve been MIA from the blog again (whoops), but that’s not what this post is about. For too long, systems across the United States have upheld white supremacist ideals and undervalued black lives. And Black lives matter.
The start of June marks the start of Pride. And we all must remember (or learn) that Pride began with a riot – several days, in fact, of rioting, protests, and police violence. What would come to be known as the Stonewall Riots (or Stonewall Uprising) in New York City’s West Village led to a revolution for gay rights across the country. A generation of Americans bore witness to that movement. And I think we’re all bearing witness to another supremely powerful movement.
I don’t claim to be an expert or educator, and I’m still learning how to be anti-racist in my daily life. Today I’m sharing some resources that are helpful to me in my personal journey, and I encourage you to join me.
“I’m Not Racist” – So, What IS Anti-Racism?
In the words of Angela Davis, “it is not enough to be not racist, you must actively be anti-racist.” To be anti-racist is to actively recognize our privilege, confront racism head-on, listen, and learn daily.
I’m a fangirl for the musical South Pacific, and in the words of Oscar Hammerstein II, “You’ve got to be taught to be afraid of people whose eyes are oddly made and people whose skin is a different shade. You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late, before you are six, or seven, or eight, to hate all the people your relatives hate.” I don’t mean to make this about a musical, but the same thing applies today as it did when these lyrics debuted on Broadway in 1949 – unconscious biases become ingrained at a young age and we must question these biases and actively commit to bettering ourselves. Racism is learned, but we can and must educate ourselves. And remember – being racist or anti-racist is not who you are but what you do.
Here is a great resource to read more on anti-racism: Anti-Racism Resources Google Doc.
If there’s anything you click on from this post, please let it be that Google Doc.
Movies to Watch
All of the below films touch on racism, police violence, what it means to be Black in America, and so much more. I highly encourage you to watch all of the below movies. I’ve included where you can watch the as well.
- I Am Not Your Negro (a personal favorite film of mine) (watch on Hulu)
- Whose Streets? (watch on Hulu)
- OJ: Made in America (watch on ESPN.com)
- The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (watch on Netflix)
- Pass Over (watch on Amazon)
Books to Read
These are just a small sampling of books that you could read that touch on racism and what it means to be Black in America. If you can, please purchase these books from an independent bookstore (in other words, NOT Amazon; Bookshop.org is a great place to start). Even better? Purchase these books from a Black-owned bookstore (here’s where to find one near you).
- White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
This isn’t a book, but I want to highlight The 1619 Project by The New York Times. It’s well worth the read and it’s all online.
Places to Donate
Ah, this is the easiest section on this whole list! If you find yourself with little time to spare, the least you can do is open your wallet. Here’s a link to a great list of resources (updated daily) where you can donate. Try to donate to organizations within your own community – real change starts on the local level! Here are some of the organizations I’ve donated money to (all of the below links will take you directly to the donate pages for each org):
- Reclaim the Block (Minneapolis-based)
- ACLU (find your local affiliate here)
- Leaders Igniting Transformation (Milwaukee-based)
If you’re white and reading this, I also encourage you take inventory of everything in your daily life and the changes you can make that can have an effect on the overall movement.
I want to acknowledge that I’m uncomfortable writing this because I’m worried I’ll say something wrong or not sound knowledgeable enough on the issues, but I cannot remain silence. For too long, white silence has led to violence. It’s time to listen, learn, grow, and take action. Everything I’ve shared above can be done from your own couch, so there’s really no excuse to not get started today.